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Past, Present and Future - the Linux way
IBM Haifa Research Labs
The Linux Kernel - HRL 2003 – p.1/21
The Linux Kernel
linux is a free (speech and beer) UNIX like operating system, developed by thousands of volunteers around the world - including yours truly started as a hobby, grew and matured with the years countless man years went into it, some paid, some for fun one of the leading server operating systems today . . . . . . and one of the leading embedded operating systems poised to take over the desktop? Hebrew support?
The Linux Kernel - HRL 2003 – p.2/21
From: torvalds@klaava.Helsinki.FI (Linus Benedict Torvalds) Date: 25 Aug 91 20:57:08 GMT Hello everybody out there using minix I’m doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won’t be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones. This has been brewing since april, and is starting to get ready. I’d like any feedback on things people like/dislike in minix, as my OS resembles it somewhat (same physical layout of the file-system (due to practical reasons) among other things). I’ve currently ported bash(1.08) and gcc(1.40), and things seem to work.This implies that I’ll get something practical within a few months, andI’d like to know what features most people would want. Any suggestions are welcome, but I won’t promise I’ll implement them :-) Linus (email@example.com) PS. Yes - it’s free of any minix code, and it has a multi-threaded fs. It is NOT protable (uses 386 task switching etc), and it probably never will support anything other than AT-harddisks, as that’s all I have :-(
The Linux Kernel - HRL 2003 – p.3/21
Linux - kernel or system?
Linux is the name given to the Linux kernel by its creator, Linus Torvalds. In common usage, Linux also refers to the entire suite of software installed on a machine, including libraries and end user applications, most of which came from the GNU project. How do we know which is which? by context. As a side note, there are “Linux distributions” that do not use the Linux kernel, and at least theoretically, the Linux kernel could be used by other operating systems.
The Linux Kernel - HRL 2003 – p.4/21
How does it work?
UNIX like kernel, exposing POSIX interfaces to user space (system calls), but only where POSIX isn’t braindead. We can aford to implement things our own way if they give substantial performance improvement complete from-scrach implementation of a monolithic kernel emphasis on pragmatic solutions - Linux is not a toy or research OS! Having said that, we play with it plenty ;-) most of the kernel is platform independent, supports many different platforms and hardware ﬂavors same codebase runs on everything from wrist watches to super computers
The Linux Kernel - HRL 2003 – p.5/21
How is it developed?
(there used to be) a stable branch and experimental branch - 2.4 was the last stable branch. With 2.6, the kernel maintainers are experimenting with various new schemes that blur the distinction between stable and experimental). (there used to be) long formal release cycles, but closely adhering to the “release early, release often” principle for development snapshots many people, companies and organizations, each pushing to have their prefered patches merged. Only one person can actually merge things - Linus Torvalds, a benevolet dictator Linus’s job is to say NO IBM contributes heavily to Linux development, via the LTC and OSDL
The Linux Kernel - HRL 2003 – p.6/21
Linux 1.0 - March 1994, i386 only, UP only Linux 1.2 - March 1995, no longer i386: Alpha, Sparc and Mips are now supported Linux 2.0 - June 1996, initial SMP support (guess who sponsored the work...) Linux 2.2 - January 1999, many improvments all over the system. Considered one of the better Linux kernel trees, many people are still using it.
The Linux Kernel - HRL 2003 – p.7/21
The old stable branch
Linux 2.4 is the latest stable release tree. It is in wide usage and obviously works, but has its share of problems and ﬂaws (obviously, those are ﬁxed in the latest and greatest, 2.6) highly divergent vendor trees. The Linux vendors, such as redhat and SuSE, are under a lot of customer pressure and thus have a different view of what should go in the kernels they distribute. development of the 2.4 kernel tree has ground to an almost standstill. (Almost) all new development occurs in the 2.5 kernel. having said that, most(?) commercial kernel code is still being written on 2.4 and even 2.2
The Linux Kernel - HRL 2003 – p.8/21
The Linux Kernel - HRL 2003 – p.9/21
the actual ’reverse mappings’ part of Rik van Riel’s rmap vm was merged. The VM paging algorithm should be smarter now, and VM behaviour under certain loads should improve. Slight performance hit due to copying the pte chains on fork. what is rmap? rmap allows the VM to know, given a physical memory page, which processes are using it more intelligent decisions on heavy load and swapout. better behaviour under load, better behaviour on “enterprise machines”. The kernel booted with 32Gb and 64Gb of memory on 32 bit machines! (work done mostly by LTC members)
The Linux Kernel - HRL 2003 – p.10/21
wsers should notice much lower latencies especially in demanding multimedia applications. code which is SMP safe should mostly be preempt safe. But, there are still cases where preemption must be temporarily disabled where we do not. These areas occur in places where per-CPU data is used. several subsystems are not known to be preempt safe be careful when enabling preempt. if you get “xxx exited with preempt count=n” messages in syslog, don’t panic, these are non fatal, but are somewhat unclean. (Something is taking a lock, and exiting without unlocking)
The Linux Kernel - HRL 2003 – p.11/21
Ingo Molnar reworked the process scheduler to use an O(1) algorithm. users should notice no changes with low loads, and increased scalability with large numbers of processes, especially on large SMP systems. utilities for changing behaviour of the scheduler (binding processes to CPUs etc). http://tech9.net/rml/schedutils. sched_yield() and yield() can now make you sleep for a long time. 2.5 adds system calls for manipulating a task’s processor afﬁnity: sched_getafﬁnity() and sched_setafﬁnity() work on the scheduler, especially in the area of interactive performance, is on-going
The Linux Kernel - HRL 2003 – p.12/21
lots of work went into threading improvements. Some of the features of this work are: generic pid allocator (arbitrary number of PIDs with no slowdown, uniﬁed pidhash). POSIX thread signals stuff (atomic signals, shared signals, etc.) threaded coredumping support sys_exit() speedups (O(1) exit) generic, improved futexes users should notice is a signiﬁcant speedup in basic thread operations this is true even for old-threading userspace libraries such as LinuxThreads. Native Posix Threading Library (NPTL). A userspace threading library utilizing the new threading
The Linux Kernel - HRL 2003 – p.13/21
considerable throughput improvements over 2.4 due to much reworking of the block and the memory management layers. assorted changes throughout the block layer meant various block device drivers had a large scale cleanup whilst being updated to newer APIs. O_DIRECT improvements, size and alignment of data per device, not ﬁlesystem. block devices can now access up to 16TB on 32-bit architectures, and up to 8EB on 64bit architectures. AIO is now included in the kernel, but seems to offer no substantial beneﬁts?
The Linux Kernel - HRL 2003 – p.14/21
A system wide performance proﬁler has been included in 2.5. With this option compiled in, you’ll get an oproﬁlefs ﬁlesystem which you can mount, that the userspace utilities talk to. The userspace utilities for this are very young, and still being developed. You can ﬁnd out more at http://oproﬁle.sourceforge.net/oproﬁle-2.5.html Oproﬁle is pretty useful, from experience. It allows you to proﬁle both userspace applications and the kernel (hence the “system wide” moniker).
The Linux Kernel - HRL 2003 – p.15/21
what is UML?
User Mode Linux (UML, hereafter) is a port of Linux (the kernel) to run as a program inside Linux (the system). Instead of working directly with the hardware, UML uses the host’s system call interface in place of the hardware. Surprisingly enough, it actually works.
The Linux Kernel - HRL 2003 – p.16/21
what is it good for?
testing and debugging kernel patches, without requiring a reboot private servers on shared hosts experimenting with system administration scenarios teaching operating systems ;-) UML clusters... (when UML-win32 comes of age) running Linux on windows machine - tapping into unused resources at night
The Linux Kernel - HRL 2003 – p.17/21
how does it work?
A UML process executes a system call instruction (int 0x80) via ptrace, the tracing thread is woken up the tracing thread annuls the system call on behalf of the UML process, and then forces the kernel to execute the system call the system call is executed, and when it is done, the tracing thread is woken up again the tracing thread manipulates the UML process state to think it completed the system call the UML process continues
The Linux Kernel - HRL 2003 – p.18/21
(In no particular order) Inﬁniband, SELinux, Ingo’s RT work, seccomp, 4K stacks, auditing framework, kernel events, laptop mode, IO schedulers, sched domains, circular pipe buffers, CKRM, kprobes, kexec, debugfs, four-level page tables, inotify, futexes, fuse, reiser4, NX support, address space randomization, netpoll, VIRTUALIZATION.
The Linux Kernel - HRL 2003 – p.19/21
The Linux kernel: http://www.kernel.org Understanding the Linux Kernel, by Bovet and Cesati, 2nd edition the linux-kernel mailing list http://marc.theaimsgroup.com/?l=linux-kernel the kernelnewbies community http://www.kernelnewbies.org What’s new in 2.6: http://www.codemonkey.org.uk/post-halloween-2.5.txt User Mode Linux: http://user-mode-linux.sf.net
The Linux Kernel - HRL 2003 – p.20/21
Q, A, M and T?
The Linux Kernel - HRL 2003 – p.21/21
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